Why Wal-Mart Hasn't Conquered Brazil

Its everyday low price strategy falls flat in a country that favors sales

When asked where she does her shopping, Ivanira de Pontes Duarte, a 51-year-old maid in São Paulo, says it depends on what she’s looking for. If she needs olive oil, a small shop in the middle of her two-hour commute is her go-to spot. Hypermarket chain Extra, a unit of France’s Casino Guichard-Perrachon, has the best deals on cleaning supplies, but only on Wednesdays, when they’re on sale. And a local street fair is where she finds the cheapest produce. One place the store-hopper hasn’t tried is Walmart. “I’ve seen their ads on TV, and their prices don’t seem that much better than everyone else’s,” she says. “It’s a question of savings. Most Brazilians don’t make very much and we need to save where we can.”

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